Keonjhar: Initially identified as a male, Salma Begum, a native of Bhuyan Roida under Joda block in this district has become the first transgender in Odisha to become a lawyer. After her birth, Begum developed feminine qualities with passage of time and she felt that the characteristics of a woman were present inside her.
Initially Begum had to struggle with social dogma, gender bias and humiliation to register herself as the first transgender lawyer at the Odisha State Bar Council. Abandoned by her kin, she was walking a tightrope when education came to her rescue.
Currently Begum is staying at Barbil with her family. She completed her graduation in science and admitted herself for a LLB degree course at Prabhas Manjari Law College in Keonjhar. Her family comprises of her mother, four sisters and a brother. After the Transgender Protection Act, 2019 came into effect, Begum got an Aadhaar card.
It gave Begum confidence to study law with the hope to practice at Barbil court. She successfully completed her LLB in 2021 and registered for a bar license at Odisha State Bar Council, last Thursday. At the outset, she will practice as a lawyer at Barbil court in Keonjhar district.
Begum was originally born as Mohammed Salim. In 2015, she came in contact with a transgender group and embraced the identity of Salma Begum. Some years back Begum shot into the limelight after applying for the post of sub-inspector of police. While the result is still awaited, Salma took up law.
When contacted, she attributed her success to her mentor and another transgender Meera Parida.